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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Vespers - 27 January 2019



LORD God, to whom even the darkness is not dark; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. Who formed our inward parts; knitted us together in our mother's womb. We praise you, for we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; our soul knows it very well (Psalm 139.12-14). We remember those of our children and grandchildren who are still being formed by your skillful hands in their mother’s wombs… Smile on their gestation, and may they each come forth always trusting in you and your goodness. But we also remember before you those who never saw the light of day, as well as those who quickly passed away…Thank you for the little moment their mamas and daddies had with them. Thank you for the brief kick or movement in their mother’s womb. We believe your Son when he said the kingdom of heaven is heavily populated with brephas, with pre-born and new born children. Give soothing stillness and healthful wholeness to their mothers and fathers. O Lord, hear our prayer.

Sometimes we recount that you are the LORD who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Psalm 103.8), and it barely registers on our hearts. But here we declare it and give you thanks for it! You are the God of Noah who once got drunk and was shamed by his son. The God of Abraham who lied about Sarah, and who tried to give you a hand through Hagar, messing up so much. The God of Judah, who was self-serving; and Tamar, who once was cunningly incestuous.  You are the God of Rahab who refused to be held back by her sexual trysts and ethnic lineage and courageously owned you as her God against all odds. You are the God of Ruth who was a homeless immigrant. You are the God of David, a man after your own heart who broke your heart in his murderous power play, but you still loved him and turned him around. The God of Bathsheba who betrayed her filial loyalty, and yet you made her an honorable woman. The God who gladly brought your Son into the world, born of this bloodline, to save his people from their sins! Truly you are the LORD who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Shower your gracious mercy on us; and turn around those who think they are too far gone… O Lord, hear our prayer.

O LORD, a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you (Psalm 9.9-10). We pray for you to hear the cries of those children oppressed by adults; those husbands and wives browbeaten by their spouses; those men, women, girls and boys exploited by the powerful… As you rescued your people from the heavy hand of Pharaoh, hear their cries and bring them release and relief. And for the tormentors and toughs who try to physically, emotionally, or verbally beat others into submission, we pray… Bring them to their knees in repentance. And if they will not repent, then: “Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted…Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none” (Psalm 10.12, 15). O Lord, hear our prayer.

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